The year promises to be eventful for Brazil. Early March is the time the country celebrates Carnaval, in the middle of the year it hosts the Soccer World Cup, in October the Brazilian citizens are electing the new president, and November is the month for the largest library conference in the nation. Soccer fans and partygoers of the world have eyes on the country as a destination for vacation whereas others will be landing there for business. The Rough Guides , for example, has elected Rio de Janeiro as the top place in the world to be visited in 2014. So, if you are planning to spend some time in Brazil this year, here are some tips of where to go to get a better knowledge of the stories behind these events.
From as early as the last week of February until March 4, the Brazilian streets will be filled by revelers in their costumes, dancing to the rhythms of samba. Described by the locals as the largest show in the planet, Brazil’s Carnaval attracts visitors from several parts of the world as well as many celebrities.
In the Museu do Samba (Museum of Samba), you can find exhibits with the history of samba and Carnaval. The museum is located in Rio de Janeiro downtown near the location of the main Carnaval parade (Sambodromo), and the admission is free.
Museu do Samba (Museum of Samba)
Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00am to 5:00pm
Rua Marques de Sapucai - downtown (entrance by Rua Frei Caneca)
Rio de Janeiro
Travelers to Rio de Janeiro can expect the trip from the airport to the hotel to take longer due to the constructions the city is still going through in preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games.
In case you are not traveling, you can still enjoy some stories about this celebration by reading these materials .
Soccer World Cup
Soccer Museum at Pacaembu Stadium
When Charles Miller , a Brazilian sportsman, returned home from a trip to England in 1894 with two soccer balls and a pair of cleats, he had no idea of the passion that would develop towards this sport not only in Brazil but in many other Latin American, European, and Middle-Eastern countries. In 1930, the first Soccer World Cup took place in a South American country - Uruguay. Since then, Brazil has played in all World Cup tournaments winning the championship five times.
The country is now getting ready to host the 2014 World Cup. After all the controversies regarding to the delays in the preparations, Brazil will finally have the chance to show if the infrastructure of its stadiums, transportation, lodging, and safety are in place to receive visitors. One of the biggest challenges will be to transport and accommodate the many visitors for the matches across a large country without many hiccups.
For the soccer fans visiting either Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro (or even both,) there are soccer museums in these cities with displays of pictures, videos, and other materials related to the sport in the country.
Both museums can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
More materials on the history of soccer can be found here .
October is the month Brazilians will decide who will lead the country for the next four years. In a place where voting is mandatory, this means that a large group of people will line up to choose the candidate who will have the mission of designing the future of one of the largest economies in the world.
Biblioteca Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (Superior Electoral Court Library), in Brasilia, offers information about the upcoming elections in Brazil. The library museum also makes available a PDF document ,in Portuguese, with the 500 year history of the election process in the country.
More info about the Brazilian elections can be found here .
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Library System (UFMG),in Belo Horizonte, is organizing and hosting the 18th SNBU (Brazilian National Seminar of Academic Libraries) on the period of Nov 16 to 21. This bi-annual library conference is the largest in the country and brings together librarians from every region in Brazil. The theme for this year is Academic Libraries and the Public Access to Information: Articulating laws, technologies, practices, and management.
Of course, OCLC will be attending and exhibiting there. In a year with so much happening in the country, we will have a lot of information to share. By the way, the theme for the event is related to this: how to share and further information to the public while complying with policies. Brazil is discussing a bill called Marco Civil (Civil Rights for the Internet) which proposes a local governance of internet (including net neutrality, privacy protection, and other rights and obligations), and it is in the process of being voted by the Brazilian government .
More information on the 18th SNBU: https://www.bu.ufmg.br/snbu2014/
So, yes, Brazil is the place to keep our eyes on in 2014 - be for fun, for business, for politics, or simply out of curiosity.
What does it mean to interact with librarians in Latin America and the Caribbean?
Well, let’s start from the beginning.
Interaction = mutual or reciprocal action or influence (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).
Latin America and the Caribbean = beautiful places with white sand beaches where you can eat good spicy food while dancing to thundering rhythms.
Librarians in Latin America and the Caribbean = the happiest ones because they get the good weather and the great views (right?).
So, you can see already that interacting with librarians in Latin America and the Caribbean is really fun because they influence you into the richness of their culture. Talking about culture, the region has so many stories to be told related to the stages it has been through - from the ancient civilizations and their reverence to the sun to being mistaken as India by the Europeans to the Jesuit missions to convert its inhabitants to Catholicism, and centuries of political and social upheavals expressed in art, music and literature. The region has it all.
There are libraries, several of them, with librarians dedicated to preserve and make available the materials representing the core of the history of these countries. These librarians are also eager to share their experiences and learn about the new trends. For that purpose, they organize library events where they can get together in an environment that can offer them space to interact.
In 2013, for example, the OCLC Latin America and the Caribbean team attended library events in places such as Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, and had the pleasure of meeting with a considerable number of librarians. Here are the highlights of these encounters:
OCLC Mexico staff attended all major regional library events in the country in 2013 interacting with the attendees to discuss about OCLC membership and what we have developed so far for the library community, while learning more about what these libraries have been facing in order to provide good service to their communities.
The Mexican libraries, mainly the public libraries, are seeking good tools for training their staff in order to serve users that are more demanding each day. On the other hand, the academic libraries are dealing with their collection development issues to attend the needs of students and researchers in a globalized scenario.
Mexico has its cultural curiosities such as the one my colleague Humberto Abed could experience while attending the Annual Public Libraries Meeting in Chiapas. During the event, the Chamula kids were selling their handcrafts to the librarians. According to Humberto, the Chamulas is a local tribe with a strong attachment to their customs and beliefs; one such belief is that their soul is stolen away when their picture is taken. Humberto, attempting to capture images of the event, was only able to get some pictures after befriending the Chamulas. Although they had agreed with their photo being taken, they blocked the smaller child from the camera out of worry that his soul would be easily stolen due to the fact he was too young.
We were present in events in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Ecuador.
The protesters that took the streets of many Brazilian cities during the year didn’t prevent the librarians from attending the library meetings. The folkloric dancing of the south part of the country amused the attendees of the Brazilian Congress of Librarianship, Documentation and Information Science (CBBD) in Florianopolis where we presented on topics such as linked data , WorldCat syndication, and shared data . We could interact with librarians from north to south of the country and learn about the changes their libraries are going through.
The events in Rio de Janeiro attracted librarians from several parts of Brazil and from countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Uruguay, including the presence of the Latin American national libraries. The crescent internet usage in Brazil has challenged the local libraries to provide easily accessible content to their end users. Mexico and Brazil, for example, have the highest number of users in Latin America and the Caribbean accessing WorldCat.org pages in search of information.
The cold winds that swept on the Argentinean coastal town of Mar del Plata didn’t stop the librarians from going to the 5th JOBAM (Libraries, Archives and Museums Meeting). The coffee breaks were great for warming up by drinking café con leche (lattes) and eating medialunas (a typical Argentinean pastry) while chatting about the issues affecting the libraries in Argentina and where they plan to improve as information providers. The economic crisis the country is going through has stricken the libraries and limited their action. Even though, they have to continue finding ways of following the technology trends to not isolate themselves from the users they serve.
Chileans had 2013 as presidential election year and for discussions towards education - an area where libraries play an essential role. The Chilean Library Association, for example, held a seminar on the role of the library as the social agent of reading development.
We attended library events in Costa Rica and Panama.
Librarians from 8 countries attended the International Congress of Academic Libraries in Panama. The meeting gathered these librarians to discuss about the importance of using the current technologies to promote the libraries resources. We were there interacting with these professionals.
We also had the opportunity of attending the 3rd BIREDIAL (International Conference in Open Access, Digital Preservation and Scientific Data) in Costa Rica where we presented on CONTENTdm , OCLC solution for building and managing digital collections and digital repositories. Costa Rica was also the site for the Laureate Group Best Practices Meeting.
During these events we were able to identify the local realization of the need of investing more in libraries as the source of relevant information and for the social role libraries play on digital inclusion.
We attended the main library events in the Caribbean region.
Libraries in the Caribbean are being challenged to increase their electronic and digital resources while providing easy and fast access to these materials to their end users. These meetings were focused on discussing the best practices and the need of staff training on the new trends and tools.
During ACURIL (Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries) meeting in Puerto Rico, the library director of University of Aruba (on the picture above) delivered a presentation on the experiences her library had when implementing and going live with WorldShare Management Services .
Our colleague Edwar Delgado attended these events in the Caribbean and could meet professionals who make great efforts with very limited resources to provide outstanding library services for their patrons. He could also experience interesting customs like praying before meetings in Jamaica, or eating from a roasted pig in Puerto Rico.
Nowadays, technology allows the interaction to surpass the physical space thus permitting for a larger group to be part of the process regardless of their location. Moreover, the interaction can also occur virtually without losing its importance but being expressed in another format.
Interacting with Latin American and Caribbean librarians, in the physical or virtual spaces, means to have the opportunity to understand the reality they face, their priorities, and their need to modernize the workflows while preserving their local identity. Paraphrasing my colleague Daniel Boivin, these events give us a chance to keep on learning more about the accomplishments and challenges of these libraries in the region and identifying how the OCLC cooperative can continue adapting to serve them as they move forward.
Cartagena de Indias (or simply Cartagena) served as the scenario for Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel “Love in the Time of Cholera” , a title well-known worldwide. During the mid-1800s, the city was struck by outbreaks of cholera that resulted in the death of a good portion of the population. But this coastal city, one of the largest in Colombia, is known for far more than its cholera outbreak or Marquez’s novel - the city has centuries of history. Its ports, so close in proximity to the Caribbean, made it one of the most important cities in Colombia during the Spanish colonization. However, the richness of the history of this place dates from many years before the Europeans arrived. Tribes have inhabited the region as far as 4000 B.C. In recent days, visitors from several parts of the world are attracted to this destination for its history, architecture, and the exotic feeling it brings.
Now Cartagena de Indias is also known for the library that never closes. Named after a local historian and writer, Biblioteca Daniel Lemaitre Tono is part of Universidad Tecnológica de Bolivar, and it has been open 24/7 for both the local community and tourists since February 2004. The library was founded in 1971 with 800 holdings and two reading rooms, and today offers a variety of resources. In 2003, the university identified that the city was lacking in public libraries and that the ones available offered restrict services in restrict times. It was then that they decided there was need to use Biblioteca Daniel Lemaitre Tono for this 24/7 project.
The highlight of this project is the service to the population, which includes students from other universities and the elderly, as well as many tourists. This is the only library in Colombia offering 24/7 service. Some of the services available at the library are cultural programs, open shelves, reference services, an archive of historic photos, material loans, and workshops.
The library receives massive visits from university students who need a quiet place full of resources for their studies to research without rushing. In regards to the elderly, this library has become their third place for anytime during the day when they just want a nice place to stop and grab a good book to read.
If you plan to visit Cartagena de Indias, don’t miss stopping by Biblioteca Daniel Lemaitre Tono. You don’t even need to worry about your schedule because this library is open 24/7.
Calle del Bouquet, Cra. 21 No. 25-92- Cartagena de Indias- Colombia
Left to right:Bruce Crocco (OCLC VP Library Services for the Americas), Cheryl King (Barbados), Elmelinda Lara (Trinidad & Tobago),Ana María Quiroz (Chile), Daniel Boivin (OCLC Executive Director Canada & Latin America and the Caribbean).
If you walked by the OCLC Conference Center in Dublin-Ohio on the second week of November, you would hear various accents pouring out of the room. I’m talking about the librarians representing OCLC member libraries from all over the world who came to attend the Global Council Meeting which took place from Nov 10-13. This very international gathering had the presence of librarians from places such as Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Italy, South Africa, Germany, and parts of US, to name a few. I can’t forget to mention that the warmth from the meeting attendees compensated for the cold weather and the snow that hit Central Ohio during those days.
Among those librarians the 03 newly elected delegates representing the member libraries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) for the period of 2013 to 2016 as following:
Elmelinda Lara - Head of Technical Services at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad & Tobago.
Cheryl King - Special Collections Librarian at the University of the West Indies in Barbados.
Ana María Quiroz - Coordinator of the Digital Committee at the National Library of Chile.
Elmelinda, Cheryl, and Ana María were elected by the member libraries in LAC and they attended the Global Council Meeting for the first time. They could interact with other delegates, the OCLC Board of Trustees, and OCLC staff to learn more about their new mission in the cooperative while being part of the various discussions. They bring fresh perspectives to the table and they are playing an important role of translating to the cooperative the challenges, needs, and opportunities for the libraries in the LAC region.
Elmelinda and Ana María in a group discussion.
Ana Maria Quiroz, for example, has these words to share regarding to her experience in participating in the Global Council meeting:
“I am still internalizing the importance of having attended the Global Council meeting, meeting people from other places and knowing that we have a lot of situations in common, that it is possible to work cooperatively and collaboratively. It seems to me quite remarkable the mission of the cooperative to continue working under the collaborative mode, which in the current context gives that feeling that is not needed, but I think it is vital. I hope to maximize this opportunity and provide insights from my institution, the National Library of Chile and DIBAM.”
”I found my first meeting to be quite interesting. The participants were friendly and OCLC staff helpful. I look forward to further interaction.”- Cheryl King, from the University of the West Indies Barbados.
OCLC member libraries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, besides of counting with the voices of these 03 elected delegates representing their territory, can also participate actively in the cooperative by attending the Americas Regional Council (ARC) meetings (either in person or via live streaming) and/or becoming an ARC Ambassador .